Linking India’s coastline and multiple islands, tourism-oriented Sagarmala gets cabinet’s nod

Linking India’s coastline and multiple islands, tourism-oriented Sagarmala gets cabinet’s nod

In a significant development, the union cabinet gave its green signal to the ambitious Sagarmala project late last month. Originally mooted in 2003 by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the project has been revived with the intention of paving the way for port-led development and significantly augment economic activities in the coastal states.

While modernisation of existing ports in India and creation of Coastal Economic Zones are the direct objectives of the project, the preliminary details coming out from the government quarters indicate that it will also have a strong tourism emphasis especially in terms of creating employment at the local level. A specific report posted on the official website of the prime minister (on Sabarmala Project) states that the promotion of “coastal tourism and recreational activities” will be among the prime objectives of the project. “The Sagarmala initiative would also strive to ensure sustainable development of the population living in the Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ). This would be done by synergising and coordinating with State Governments and line Ministries of Central Government through their existing schemes and programmes such as those related to community and rural development, tribal development and employment generation, fisheries, skill development, tourism promotion, etc.,” the report says.

Going by a comment made by a senior cabinet member, the project will tend to develop some of the uninhabited islands for beach tourism and water sports which may eventually also lead to new opportunities for the hospitality industry. According to an estimate, over 1200 islands in India presently have no population. The project also envisages creating nearly a dozen smart cities along India’s coast line. “Sagarmala project which is a priority project for Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been designed in a fashion that it will see at least 12 smart cities at India’s major ports besides special economic zones (SEZs),” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said recently.

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